Wind walker

Wind walker, Hedge Rider, feather walker, realm worker

I couple of month’s ago I bought two books about being a hedge witch by the author Rae Beth. I read one and barely flicked through the other. They are another new definition – ones I believe simply confuse rather than help.

I have also heard a few people call themselves hedge witches and in conversation discover they don’t ride the hedge – possibly a Rae Beth thing.

The witch that rides – the wind walker, the Mother Goose – is most commonly known by the English term (believed to be of Saxon origin) hedge rider, or hedge witch.

The ‘hedge’ is a metaphor for the boundaries of the realms. Many paths cross these boundaries, such as the shaman. And it’s with the shaman that the hedge witch has most similarities. More so than with ceremonial mages; such as Wiccans, witchcrafters, or cunning-folk.

I was told a long time ago, by a Heathen, that in a German myth or understanding of the cosmos, the earth was surrounded by a hedge. This is similar to my own heritage, albeit, not a hedge. This myth has more meaning for this way of life than simply the hedge of a village that is mentioned in many books/web articles.

It is a shamanic path only in the style of travel between realms, not in purpose, beliefs, or other techniques.

I don’t call myself a hedge witch because of my aversion to labels – being boundaries themselves – but I could be considered as such.

The hedge witch’s focus is not magic, healing, or spellcraft. The wind walker seeks to cross the boundaries. The true hedge rider does so with plants. To do so with meditation is not hedge riding, it becomes something else entirely.

It’s not simply due to difference in technique – which does create an entirely different experience – but more to do with the use of green allies. Working with plants is essential.

The ride is taken with nature/plant spirits.

Hedgeriding is plant induced, but can be paired with chant or movement.

We cross the shoreline to meet with the spirits of place, of nature, on their realm. Also, to meet with the ancestors. In the journey, the threads of the web are glimpsed, and sometimes, depending on the witch, they can be worked with.

This is our focus – rather than gods or magic. Riding the hedge is not a technique, but a way of life, a purpose-driven path.

In the heritage of some, the riding is for the purpose of divination or prophecy. Seidh is one expression of this.

While the salve on the broomstick is the most well known, and infamous, method, this is merely one of many. Most methods are much less sensational or interesting: they are simply methods, nothing more. Also, mushrooms, of which I’ve seen mentioned, are the least likely to be used, this is more likely of shamans than witches. But of course, it always depends where the witch lives and what is available to her.

The easiest is burning herbs to inhale, or drinking teas. More elaborate methods are used for certain rites, or depending upon the rider’s culture. The rider might want certain rituals to induce a particular purpose, or might require the aid of an animal spirit.

If animal spirits are required, these are called, sometimes days before, and the animal is taken if it chooses to give its life. Usually it’s an animal of flight, but again, it depends upon the culture and the purpose.

Often, the heart is used, or only the blood. Sometimes the carcass is burnt in a hearth or open fire. Often along with the plants for flight. Sometimes the carcass is stuffed with the herbs, other times parts of the animal are crushed with them and sprinkled on the flames.

The riding can take place anywhere; from the witch’s home, or, as is often the case, from where places of veil-crossing are found. These can be the spirit roads or the doorways.

Wind walkers are no different than many village witches, in that they are solitaires. However, for very deep work, or extreme plant allies, hedge witches would coven (verb) to act as watchers/sitters.

Herb workers, for healing, are not hedge witches. Please respect traditions by using more useful terms.

In my family, there are only a handful of feather walkers; more are Crafters. In my experience this is the case across the globe.


~ by sandra on November 1, 2006.

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